High Shear Mixer solutions for Flavors
Flavors are added to a wide variety of the foods we eat. Although they may take several forms, flavors are commonly concentrated in an oil based liquid. Food processors must often emulsify this oil in an aqueous system using high shear mixing technology coupled with gums or other stabilizing agents to improve product quality and shelf life.
IKA® Works, Inc. has a wide range of solutions to improve product quality and process efficiency. The two steps to this process involve forming an emulsion (dispersing and reducing the droplet size of the liquids) and hydrating a stabilizer to help maintain the emulsion. Neglecting either of these steps will result in a reduced shelf life for the product.
Emulsions are formed when two immiscible liquids (oil and water) are dispersed within one another. Stability of the emulsion will depend on several characteristics of the product, most notably viscosity (thickness) and droplet size.
The higher the viscosity of the liquids, generally, the more stable the emulsion. This is because the phases cannot easily move within one another (picture an air bubble trying to rise in honey versus water). Therefore, the stabilizers often used in the manufacture of flavor emulsions include gums or other thickening agents. These ingredients, often a powder, act to increase the viscosity and thus keep the oil and water phases from separating. The challenge to the manufacturer is to effectively blend these often difficult to disperse powders. IKA® Works range of high shear mixers can rapidly and efficiently disperse these stabilizers using rotor / stator technology. The intense mixing action breaks down the agglomerates (lumps) that often form when hydrating these powders and increases the surface area exposed to the liquid, improving functionality.
IKA® Works’ value to the customer is not limited to dispersing a stabilizer. The shelf life of the product and stability of the emulsion will also depend on the droplet size of the liquids or how finely they are dispersed within one another. Illustrating this point, picture a small air bubble that sits in a glass of water for hours versus a large bubble which instantly rises to the surface. IKA®Works’ customers utilize a range of interchangeable Generators (rotor / stator tools) to tailor a single mixer to achieve a very narrow droplet size distribution of the ideal size for maximum shelf life. The multiple rows of rotors and stators coupled with the ability to utilize up to three distinct rotor / stator sets allow IKA® Mixers to overcome the forces (i.e. interfacial tension) that hinder the formation of stable emulsions. IKA® has experience forming emulsions with droplet sizes as low as 0.25m m and very tight size distributions.
ADVANTAGES OF IKA® WORKS MIXERS WHEN MIXING FLAVORS:
- Increased viscosity from a given amount of gum / stabilizer, due to increased functionality. This allows customers, in many cases, to decrease their raw materials usage.
- Less wasted product. Lumps of gum do not need to be filtered out.
- Decreased operator input. Operators must finely sift gums into a batch tank when using conventional methods, which takes a considerable amount of time. Also, filter changes / maintenance are common, as even the best operators cannot avoid some agglomeration when using these methods.
- Increased efficiency. Conventional methods take a considerable amount of time (often hours) to hydrate a gum or stabilizing agent. IKA® Works Mixers achieve almost instantaneous hydration.
- Fine droplet sizes / improved shelf life or stability. IKA Works Mixers produce the finest emulsions of any rotor / stator mixer with the tightest particle size distribution.
- Decreased process time. Alternate high shear devices will often require long process times or may not even be capable of forming the emulsion. IKA® Works’ innovative Generator designs ensure a tight, stable emulsion is quickly formed.
IKA® MIXERS SUITABLE FOR FLAVOR APPLICATIONS: